Paula Badosa emulates Emma Raducanu achievement by winning Indian Wells on debut
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Paula Badosa won what many have called one of the matches of the year in a thrilling three-set final in Indian Wells. The 23-year-old overcame former world No 1 Victoria Azarenka in three hours and four minutes to win the title with a 7-6(5) 2-6 7-6(2) victory. It was the Spaniard’s debut at the BNP Paribas Open, as she replicated Emma Raducanu’s US Open heroics by winning the title on just her first appearance at the tournament.
Badosa and Azarenka couldn’t be separated throughout the final set, as the pair broke each other and continued to earn multiple break points on one another’s serves.
The tight tussle started with a lengthy 79 minute first set, which saw Badosa win it in the tiebreak 7-6(5) after being broken by the Belarusian when she served for the set earlier on.
Azarenka, a two-time former champion in the Californian desert, appeared unbothered by losing a back-and-forth lengthy opening set, and raced to win the second 6-2.
The Spaniard, making her debut in Indian Wells, was the first to strike in the third and broke her opponent’s serve, but was broken back as Azarenka refused to back down.
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The 21st and 27th seeds continued to fend off break points throughout the rest of the third set, until former world No 1 Azarenka was able to convert one.
The significant break came as Badosa was serving at 4-4, giving the Belrusian the chance to serve out the match.
After being 30-0 up as she served for the title, Azarenka suddenly found herself facing a break point as the 23-year-old reeled off four points in a row to break back and keep herself alive in the final.
The championship match went to a decisive final set tiebreak, and Badosa replicated her results from the first set by getting off to a good start in the breaker, winning the first three points in a row before going on to close out a 7-6(5) 2-6 7-6(2) victory to win the biggest title of her career.
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The 23-year-old had an impressive run in the desert, beating Coco Gauff, Roland Garros champion Barbora Krejcikova, three-time Major champion Angie Kerber and top 20 star Ons Jabeur en route to the final.
Azarenka was looking to make history as the first woman to win three singles titles in Indian Wells, but the young Spanish star was able to overcome the two-time champion to top off her impressive debut by winning the trophy.
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